Working at a university, I have great access to unique resources. Using the latest software from our Center for Computational Time Wasting, I came to the conclusion that the average human being spends on average 7 million hours gossiping. This amounts to 8 hours a day. The average goes up considerably when the Miami Herald publishes speculations about Castro’s death, but using a smoothing function that controls for rumors about the premature death of Latin American dictators, we are pretty sure that 8 hours per day is about right.
Given that most people sleep for about 8 hours, watch TV for about 6 hours, and struggle with constipation in the toilet for about 2 hours, it is abundantly clear that ALL of their gossip is done at work, which explains why our economy is in such abysmal state and why GM had to recall 2.6 million cars.
Gossiping is such an epidemic that I decided to do some research on it. I, of course, never gossip, so I lacked any personal experience with the phenomenon. As a result, I had to rely on validated tools to collect data: random eavesdropping. I chose a representative sample of visitors to the broadwalk in Hollywood Beach, Florida (don’t even try to call it a boardwalk). The two and a half mile stretch by the ocean invites populations from all over the world to congregate for daily gossip conventions. I can detect what passersby are saying only in a few languages, but using the latest google glasses I surreptitiously record and translate what I do not get, which is usually in Russian and involves the words Absolut, Smirnoff, and vomit.
The following is a list of the ten most frequent gossip statements emitted by broadwalk visitors:
Gossip serves many evolutionary functions such as self-protection. Talking garbage about someone else fills the air and prevents people from contemplating their own foibles. This is a well-known psychological defense mechanism characteristic of 3 year olds, Kim Kardashian, Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin, Dovid the putz, and mayoral candidates in Hialeah. Gossip is essential for procreation too. If people ever stopped gossiping and realized who they were procreating with, it would be the end of the human species, causing the demise of the diaper industry.
Gossip comes in several forms and levels of sophistication, from the pedestrian (Dovid is a putz) to the refined (Something has been on my mind lately. I wonder if you happen to know the whereabouts of the famous banker, Faigel’s former husband, Dovid the putz?).
My observations also revealed that Gossipers come in different personality types: